MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge talks to the media during a Western Bulldogs AFL training session at Whitten Oval on June 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Western Bulldogs head coach Luke Beveridge has confirmed that assistant coach Rohan Smith will be departing the club at the end of 2023.

The 50-year-old assistant will not have his contract renewed for next season after spending 12 years in a coaching role at the club.

Smith played an astounding 300 games for the Western Bulldogs and is recognised as a Footscray-Western Bulldogs Hall of Famer. The former Dogs utility and two-time All-Australian kicked 254 goals across his 15-year career.

Speaking to the media in a press conference on Thursday, an emotional Beveridge shared his thoughts on his former teammate and Smith's coaching efforts whilst going through health issues.

“(Smith) is probably the standout example for me of someone in the game who during the pandemic worked so hard to pull the game through such a difficult period in everyone's lives, especially in Victoria,” Beveridge said.

“As we came out of it, Rohan was unfortunately afflicted by long COVID and then was diagnosed with a neurological ailment which affected him almost in an arthritic sense, which manifested in an almost painful day-to-day for him."

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Beveridge gave no clear reason as to why Smith had not been offered a new contract but praised his coaching ability over his 12-year stint. Smith had more recently been the backline coach for the Bulldogs but with the now vacant role, Beveridge addressed that former assistants Steven King, Daniel Giansiracusa and Ash Hansen are all possible candidates.

Smith started at the Bulldogs as a skills acquisition coach in 2012. He then coached the Bulldogs' backline from 2013 to 2016, playing a role in their famous premiership win. After the drought-breaking victory, he transitioned into the club's AFL Developmental Manager between 2017 and 2019 whilst finally returning to the backline in 2020 and maintaining that position.

With only three games left in the regular season, the Bulldogs will be looking to secure a finals spot as they take on the Hawks on Sunday at 1:10pm AEST in Tasmania.